Gaetana Affuso, Dario Bacchini

Family relationships and behavioral/depressive disorders in adolescence: a reciprocal influence

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Family relationships, externalizing behaviors, depressive symptoms, adolescence, longitudinal study

In this paper, we report a study of the way the quality of family relationships and adolescent problems of depression. and delinquency influence each other over time. In the study, in which we adopted a transactional approach to development, we monitored 325 young people (224 males and 101 females) during their first three years in high school (14.5 was the mean age at time). To assess the quality of family relationships, we used the relative scale from the Offer Self Image Questionnaire. We hypothesized that quality of family relationships, depression and juvenile delinquency would be stable over time, that in any given period the quality of family relationships would directly influence depression and delinquency and that these problems would influence family relationships in the following period. We expressed our model in a system of structural equations. The data fitted the model well. Analysis showed that poor family relationships encourage delinquency and that anti-social behavior by young people has an independent negative influence on these relationships. These two effects add up to create a negative feedback loop that amplifies the phenomenon. The study failed to show significant links between adolescent depression and deteriorating family relationships over time.

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